How To Use Peloton Auto Resistance (And enjoy the ride)


In 2020, the peloton introduced a new bike+ with a range of cool features, including one of my favorites, the auto-follow resistance. In this article, I will explain everything there is to know about auto resistance and what are the benefits of using it.

As a whole, the peloton auto-follow resistance is an option available only for the bike plus users. It works by automatically adjusting your resistance based on the instructor’s recommendation range, thanks to the new digital resistance.

I will also touch on the pros and cons of this feature because some people find it unappealing and unnecessary.

Peloton Auto Resistance

The peloton auto-follow is a software-driven feature that gives you the option to sync your workouts and follow along with the recommended resistance level.

For example, if the peloton instructor says you should have your resistance between 50 to 60 for the next 3 minutes, you don’t have to do anything and the bike will change everything for you.

It’s like putting your bike on autopilot.

Please remember that you still have decent flexibility to adjust the resistance based on your preferences. If you find that the given range is too hard or too low, you can manually adjust the knob.

How Does Peloton Auto Resistance Works?

As a whole, the peloton auto resistance works by following the pre-designed target metrics. The resistance will be depended on the class type you take.

What are the target metrics on the peloton? As a whole, the target metrics on the peloton can be found in the class data. It is the structure of the class in the form of a graph that shows you levels of resistance that was used in the class from beginning to the end. Target metrics are only available for the on-demand classes.

What I love about this feature is you can follow the class, without worrying about adjusting the knob. This is the perfect option, especially for beginners, but it does have some limitations (more on that later).

Does peloton digital have targe metrics? In short, the peloton digital doesn’t have target metrics because the auto-follow feature is only available for bike+ users with all-access membership. The only metrics peloton digital has for cycling classes are the class description and plan.

You can learn more about all the cool features that can be found in the “peloton digital membership” in my article here.

Is peloton auto-follow resistance worth it? As a whole, the peloton auto resistance is worth it because you can do the entire class without even touching the resistance knob. The auto-follow option can be switched on and off at any given time, and it provides the slider bar with a range that can also be adjusted.

Peloton Auto Resistance Vs Manual Resistance

The difference between peloton auto resistance and manual is that with the manual you have to constantly change the resistance knob by yourself. This is good for people who like to be in control and don’t like to follow the pre-made structure.

On the other hand, with the peloton auto resistance, you don’t have to change anything because the bike is doing all the work. This is good for people who need extra motivation because the bike keeps them working within the set range.

I think that people who shy away from challenges will benefit from using the auto-follow feature because this will ensure they are at the right effort level.

Which one is better? As a whole, the peloton auto resistance is better than manual because you can focus on the ride without having to think about adjustments. It improves the overall experience and allows you to stay fully immersed in your workout.

One of the most popular bikes that also have auto resistance features is NordicTrack.

How Do You Make Peloton Resistance Automatic?

Here you can see the full tutorial from Matt on how to set up the auto resistance on the peloton.

  • Select the class – The auto resistance is only available in on-demand classes that have been in the peloton library for longer than 24 hours and have the target metrics feature on. This means you won’t be able to use it for the rides that have just been uploaded.
  • Turn on the auto-follow – You can turn on the auto-follow feature on your screen immediately after you start the class. The icon of auto-follow is on the bottom right corner just above your resistance metrics. It looks like a little lock in the middle of the yellow circle.
  • Adjust your range – You can choose to adjust your resistance at any time, or you can leave the bike guiding your without moving a finger.

What I love about the peloton auto resistance is allows me to fully immerse myself in the class, without distracting myself.

Another cool thing you will notice is the interval times circulating on the icon that indicates how much time you have before there will be another chance in the resistance.

Do peloton scenic rides have auto resistance? As a whole, the peloton scenic rides don’t have auto resistance. However, some of the distance scenic rides do have auto cadence, where you can see the screen changes based on your cadence.

You can read more about “peloton scenic rides“, how they work and how they were filmed in my article here.

Do peloton live classes have auto resistance? In short, the peloton live classes don’t have the feature of auto resistance. For the class to have this option is need to have the target metric graph, which is usually added to each peloton ride 24 hours after the class was live.

Peloton Auto Resistance Advantages

Now let’s talk about the benefits that come from using the peloton auto-follow feature.

  • Save time – Letting the peloton set up the resistance automatically saves you a lot of time on having to adjust the resistance manually, especially for the rides like Intervals and climbs where you have to change resistance frequently.
  • Reduce distraction – Not having to reach down and mess around with the manual resistance helps you stay focused on the rides and prevent unnecessary distractions. This is perfect for people who like to focus on the ride and don’t worry about the knob.
  • Extra challenge – Riding in already established resistance provides you with the opportunity to challenge and motivate yourself. This is good for people who need extra motivation and don’t usually increase their resistance as they should.

Exercise is meant to be slightly uncomfortable and I know many people who will do everything they can to make every ride an easy ride. Using the auto-follow pushes you out of your comfort zone.

However, as mentioned before, there are also some limitations of the auto-follow feature.

Peloton Auto Resistance Disadvantages

Letting peloton bike control resistance automatically in the rides also comes with a downside. Here are some of the disadvantages of using the peloton auto-follow feature.

  • Not suitable for more advanced riders – People who are already experienced and trained may find this feature unnecessary because the overall class intensity may be too easy.
  • Not suitable for starters – People who just start their journey with the peloton and never trained before may find it too difficult to match their effort level with the auto-follow.
  • You can experience lagtime – Sometimes this feature does cause accuracy problems and may not match what the instructor says. If you’re the kind of person who cannot stand the lagging feedback, you may want to switch to manual resistance.

Conclusion

As you can see, some people say the feature is useless, whereas others say it’s a gamechanger. I personally love to use it on the days when I just want to have a nice experience and immerse myself in the class.

However, on the days I feel like I want to sweat hard and go for my PR, I typically do it with manual resistance.

Michal Sieroslawski

Michal is an exercise physiologist (MSc), nutrition coach, Ashtanga teacher, and fitness blogger. He shares his successes and failures to help busy men and women squash down 20, 50, or even 100 pounds of fat without leaving their home.

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